I’ve been busy this month, but it’s been a month of organizing, and thinking about administrative type things. I’m designing a new business card, trying to set up an Etsy store which is taking more time and brain power than I expected, and doing a bit of weaving.
I wove this shawl…twice! I found the draft in an old handwoven magazine ( May/ June 2014 designed by Luhring, Brent& Belson) and pretty much replicated it…which I often do, and then I go on to riff one on my own. Which is what I’m weaving now…a variation based loosely on that draft. My daughter suggested I weave something the color of Sea glass. And I have a bunch of linen in my stash…so here is my warp..
Three different linens…two are 2/20 linen sett at 24 ends per inch, and one light blue 2/10 linen sett at 12 ends per inch. My striping is changed also, as is the ratio of twill to lace. When I was putting the ends thru the reed I realized it was a bit too wide, so at the last minute I decided to remove about an inch and a half of threads and just let them hang..
I’m trying to use more of my stash this year so I looked thru my collection of 2/20 silk and needed some more colors. Luckily I had a cone of white silk so I dyed three hanks ( 800 yards, 400 yards, and 350 yards). And I like how they came out..alpine blue, Sapphire blue and a medium plum. You don’t want my directions for dyeing yarn because it’s very organic in technique. I use acid dyes from Dharma and my big electric turkey roaster. I started out with alpine blue in the kettle…dyed the largest hank, which used up a lot of the dye in the water, but there was still some left…then I added Sapphire blue dye and dyed the next largest hank, then when that was cooked, I added to the bath water some plum dye to do the last hank. So technically the plum has a bit of alpine blue in it, and sapphire blue in it but I have no idea how much. I’m usually pretty happy with how my colors turn out, I just can’t replicate them.
I picked out some colors that I thought would go well with my warp and then sampled them
And then I sampled some more….
So I ended up choosing my newly dyed colors and a grayed green from my stash… and it’s weaving up nicely!
I also knit two hats from Qiviut…but I might re-knit them.
The past couple of months I’ve been weaving cowls. I don’t know why, except I wanted one myself, and jaggerspun had sent out a little sample packet of their new colors for Zephyr yarn and I just kept looking at it thinking that was a lovely combination of colors and I should do something with it…so, of course, I ordered all five new colors, a pound each, which was 25,000 yards of yarn, which totally obligated me to actually do something with it. So I made a set of cowls.
In case you weren’t aware, cowls are a perfect project to test out yarn combinations. I figured out a good stripe combination on iweave it, warped my loom for 16 inches at 24 epi.and put on a six yard warp. That gives 5 cowls at 36 inches in length, and one yard for waste.
I use my sewing machine to baste each end of the five feet of weaving and give it a nice warm water soak with Euclean, soak, or shampoo, in the laundry tub, slosh it around just a bit, squeeze the excess water out, roll it in a bath sheet and then step on it to really get the water out. Then I hang it to dry, giving it a quick press in the morning.
Anyway…I then had this lovely, pink!, warp on Clara, my 8 harness macomber loom. And fortuitously, I had a box of lovely coordinating hand spun silk from my friend Gabe.
She and I have the best system…I buy small amounts of hand dyed silk fiber…usually from Barb lxxxxx, who is a Woodland Weaver Guild Member, and I gift them to Gabriela…who in turn spins them…so much more finely than I’m capable or patient enough to try to spin. Sometimes she plys them on themselves, sometimes she plys them with sewing thread…and she often gifts them back to me…beautiful, delicate, one ounce skeins of luscious hand spun silk! So I’ve been saving these little skeins of silk thinking a project will come up perfect for them…and these cowls were it!
Zephyr warp, hand spun silk weft! 5 beautiful winter cowls!
Recipe for Handwoven cowl
Warp of Jaggerspun Zephyr set at 24 epi
12 dent reed slewed at 2 aren’t
1 yard for each cowl plus 1 yard waste
Weft…similar grist of yarn to 2/18 Zephyr( approx 5000 yards per pound)… but if I had had some lumpy bumpy fat yarn in the right colors I would have used a shot or two every few inches…maybe next time..
The 1 yard includes shrinkage, the twist and sewing the French hem, the finished cowl is closer to 31 inches in circumference. You don’t have to be too picky, it just has to be able to be pulled over your head.
I have been wearing one of the pink cowls nonstop..I don’t usually wear pink but it goes with everything
Then January came….and Norbert and I got Covid…ugh…mine lasted three days…no big deal…Norbert’s, however, has lasted the entire month but he is much better now…and in the middle of the Covid mess, I broke my toe…so I have had lots of opportunity to sit in my favorite chair with my foot up …. Knitting…
These are three of my five “covid Hats”
And then Jacob asked me, since I was wearing my pink cowl inside the house, because it was warm…and goes with everything…did I mention that?..Jacob asked if I could make him “a manly type of cowl”… so I knit him this Gaiter…and it’s my favorite shade of orange! I think it could be a smidge tighter, but for Jacob it’s perfect.
Recipe for knit cowl/Gaiter
Using sock or fingerling yarn, cast on 160 stitches in your stretchiest cast on.
I use Jennie’s stretchy cast on from u tube.
Knit one row, purl the next, for 12 or more inches.
Cast off using Jennie’s stretchy bind off.
For a more turtleneck fit cast on 145.
Next week I should have photos of the two huck lace scarves I just finished and a set of towels!
The past two weeks I’ve been putzing. I feel like I haven’t accomplished a lot. I did finish all three MD scarfs…and true to form, I like the last one In the series the best…the one where I used up a bunch of bobbins… I think it’s rather a manly colored scarf…and yes, I know, colors do not have genders…anyway I was showing these three scarfs to some folks and a petite, delicate, Gorgeous young woman picked up that scarf, wrapped it around her neck and said “ this one is mine! I love this scarf!…Honestly, that happens all the time…I should know better than to assign genders to my weavings. And maybe I should do more with this autumn jewel toned color way.
Oh! But I was at Costco and they have begun to put out their Christmas stuff…and I was able to get another roll of ribbon..I had used mine up and I have been waiting to get a replacement roll…I use this ribbon instead of pinning a measuring tape to the edge of my weaving…it’s really handy and inexpensive. I use a fine tip sharpie to make notes on the tape before I weave and sometimes as I weave, so I can make the ends match if I need to…
I’ve finished two hats
I did a warp from hell for a set of two shawls I’ve had in the back of my mind. I used a scarf pattern from handwoven, but widened the warp to a shawl width, used up some linen bobbins I had on hand, so the twill stripes were varying widths, used up an entire cone of linen with 3 feet to spare…and proceeded to weave one shawl. I had broken threads maybe every 6inches, especially along one edge. Then I figured out I needed to advance my warp more often. I wove it with silk. I think it’s okay…now I’m trying to put felted balls on the fringe…so it’s going to be a bit of a funky type of shawl…I hope it sells! Certainly someone is going to like it… I think…
It’s slow going weaving these shawls…and equally slow to affix the felted balls onto the fringe but I will get it done!
The next shawl will have stripes using these purple colors…all 30/2 silk…the first two purples are from red fish dyeing…I got them at an estate sale, the dark lavender gray I dyed and the purple cone is from webs. So we will see how this turns out
My friend Gabriela gave me an entire shopping bag of small balls of Hand spun yarn! Look at all these colors!
Most of it is from old SOAR workshops, but there were 13 tiny balls of leftover sock yarn. So I cast on a Mobius cowl from the Magical Knitting book by Cat Borhies. I think I’d better save this knitting for my trip to Alaska, but it’s cast on and really easy, mindless knitting and a good use of those little yarn balls!
I still don’t have a project warp for my 8 harness Macomber loom. I’m thinking of a warp 15.5 inches wide, 6 feet long. That’s enough for 5 32 inch cowls that I could sew into mobius circle. And I could do that and use up all my tencil bobbins that have collected or all my blue green and black zephyr bobbins in my jar…but what I really want to weave is a funky green, cream, tan, purple plaid with bits of twill and bits of plain weave. I think that’s what I’m leaning towards….
So my goals for the coming week are:
Finish doing the fringe of blue shawl
Weave purple shawl
Design the draft and Wind the warp for the funky plaid
Well I had a lot of fun this week…I used up bobbins! Before I start weaving a project I usually sample for a few inches…or more. And I test out which colors work best…sometimes the color I planned for the weft really does not go…color blending in weaving is tricky…it’s not like blending paint colors it’s more like pointillism…tiny dots of color that show up differently depending how far away from the weaving you are. Anyway…I test out colors and end with a bunch of half filled bobbins. And then I finish a project I have left over bobbins. And this keeps happening….so I did a couple of bobbin eliminating projects …it was either that, or order more bobbins! So I gathered all the 8/2 bobbins that I thought would go with my towel warp, and some almost empty cones…I was kinda curious what would go with the variegated stripe…just so I would know for future weaving…so I ended up weaving 13 coordinated towels, but they are all just a little bit different…and now I have 25 Empty bobbins!
I knew I needed about 5 filled bobbins to weave each towel, so i divided my towel into thirds…two thirds a main color, then a dividing stripe, then the remaining third a different color. I laid out my filled bobbins at the start of each towel and then just wove! Lots of fun! Six of these are destined for gifts, and the remaining seven will go into my stock pile for my holiday sales.
Here is my new stockpile of empty bobbins! Whoo hoo!
Oh! I have another photo….we all know that we need to take into consideration shrinkage when we weave..but I never realized exactly what was happening the first time I washed my 8/2 towels…her are two identical towels…one just off the loom, the other, hemmed, then washed and ironed, ready to sell…it’s kinda dramatic! I lost 4 inches in length and 2 inches in width just in the washing machine, then hemming shorted them up a bit more. I think I will weave the next set two inches longer.
Measurement off the loom: 31.5 x 19.25
Washed and hemmed: 25x 17.25
I really love this pattern! And using a bunch of coordinated colors kept me entertained!
I think I will try to write up the pattern also and see if anyone would like to buy the draft. Here are some photos of the finished towels! This is my new favorite towel pattern!
The Michigan Fiber fest was this past weekend. I got to go shopping with one of my friends on Friday! we always have such a fun time! This is my haul!
Starting at the top and going in a circle…two handled rovings that will turn into the base color for some hand knit hats…hopefully I can get that spun before we leave for Alaska in mid September, A blue and gold mini roving 50/50 merino and silk from Barb Lambrecht…and two mini one ounce skeins of silk also from Barb…construct colors for hats, a bottle of Soak, because I used up my old bottle, A new shuttle from Kennich looms of michigan…I love their shuttles, the bar that holds the bobbin makes it so easy to pop a new bobbin in, it lifts out entirely, a skein or raw silk..also from Barb..I think it’s going into a silk shawl…striped..I would like to have it in the warp, but it’s single ply…so we will see, a skein of light brown merino/silk/yak….800 yards soft as butter! two cones of linen in dark gray….and a larger cone of black 20/2 silk all from the Miller girls. That was my haul! Lots of fun projects coming up and look at those colors!
I also finished up the MD scarfs this week…I wove a green scarf..which was In My last post, then I did a blue scarf..same design…but then I got bored and looked at my stash of Zephyr filled bobbins and did this scarf in very fall masculine colors…It was so fun to weave, I would choose the colors for eight inches, advance the warp so I could see a three inches of the last sequence and then choose my bobbins for the next 8 inches…it’s really a nice scarf! And I got some more empty bobbins!
Since two of the scarfs had short fringe I had a bit of extra warp on my loom so I wove a sample using just three colors…it’s a really nice sample…I think I might do a series of scarfs in this pattern…they would be quick,and I have a bunch of blue bobbins to use up..
Today I plan to clean up my mess in my studio, there’s always a clutter when I finish a project and now both my looms are empty. But I have one project that’s ready to be wound and started…a spaced warp shawl. Linen warp, silk weft, shawl. I will have photos for you next week!
I’m late with this post…but on Wednesday…my usual blogging day..I had nothing…well I had a whole pile of frustration, but I couldn’t even put into words how botched up everything was but it seems like today I have some words so here goes…
On my 8 harness macomber…I still am working on my MD scarfs. The green one is done, now I’m doing a blue one…but I put that hank of variegated pink silk onto a louet spool so I could see the color progression and it’s going to look so bad as weft, like little busy stripes. Ugh…It’s so hard to figure out what to use it in…honestly I don’t remember when I bought it but it’s got to be at least 8 years ago. ugh! I really hate that beautiful expensive yarn!
On my 12 harness macomber I have a set of dish towels. I wound a 15 yard warp because 6 of those towels are for a wedding shower gift. A shower I am hosting. This coming Saturday. There is no way I’m going to get them woven, washed, hemmed and iron. I have 5 desserts to bake, shopping, decorating, bouquets…everything! I am not going to get them done. Warping was a Mess…I dont know why. I had tangles and I usually don’t. I had broken threads…from the tangles…which I usually don’t have. And…when I was threading heddles I discovered that I failed to wind 12 threads of one block…how did that happen? What was I thinking!?! Crap, crap, crap! So I sat at my loom and thought …( well, what I actually thought was perhaps I should just run to WilliamSonoma and buy a Bundt pan…nobody under 30 ever asks for one and they give you an instantly pretty cake…). But what I decided to do since it was a palindrome type warp, was to drop 12 threads On the other half that I had already threaded…so it looks okay.. not terrible,
I’ve woven this block twill pattern before…but this time, since I had two pounds of a blue variegated 8/2 cotton from webs, I thought I would use it. Ugh. I guess it’s okay. I wish it was a solid blue but I didn’t have enough 2550 blue for 15 towels and I thought it might be better as warp than as weft
This is the variegated cotton….and here is a towel with the variegated yarn as weft….it’s busy. Not my favorite.
Here is my towel…same pattern..with the variegated as warp….I think I’m going to try it with a lavender weft next and see if that is better.
Here is the same towel in all solids…everybody likes this towel.
Anyway, wish me luck with the shower, my husband has been helping me with the garden and tree trimming and mulching so the yard looks good. A tent and tables and chairs are being delivered so that part is covered…I just have to bake and set tables and flower arrange…and run to Williams Sonoma.
This week I’m weaving a series of 3 scarfs. M.D. is a play on words because I originally wove this draft as a birthday gift for a friend with the initials MD, who works In the medical field and has a doctorate. But the original idea for the scarf came from VAV Magazine. issue 1, 2018. It was designed by Brita Been. It’s essentially a block twill scarf with some added bling.
I played around with the size and number of blocks, and the sett…hers is all silk, mine is a warp and weft of Jaggerspun Zephyr. The published draft and scarf uses a much finer warp than I do. Mine is sett at 24 epi, and uses a 12 dent reed.
If you are a weaver and you don’t have a subscription to VAV magazine, you should get one! I get mine, mailed to my home, thru Lone star Loom Room.
I can’t publish the draft because it is owned by VAV magazine but What I truly love about Britas design is the elegance the solid black ends of the scarf give to the design. So simple, but almost a damask effect using the block twill. Clean and elegant. A really lovely pattern.
Here are some photos showing how I lay in the ends of my novelty bling yarn
I usually do a 10 yard warp…my first scarf has long twisted fringe, the middle scarf has short fringe and the last has long twisted fringe. That way I take advantage of the waste yarn at each end. I often sample for the second and third scarf in the fringe area and then just pick it out after the three scarfs are woven and cut apart. Here is my diagram.
I always give myself 5 inches of fringe for the short fringe scarf, so I have enough room to tie the fringe knots…but then after tying the knots and washing the scarf, I trim the fringe to 1.5 inches.
I’m thinking that my second scarf will be blue with these two ladder yarns
And my third, with long fringe will use the variegated silk as the body and the purple silk near the fringe ends. The black and deep purple silk together should look beautiful, my only worry is what will the Claudia variegated silk yarn pattern as when I weave with it. I have had that hank of yarn for years And I just haven’t figured out how and where to use it…I hope this works. I will have a photo for you next week!
I also twisted fringe and washed my scarfs from last week…they are lovely!
And…I got a new fancy lady….with arms! To model my shawls. I’m going to get her some opera gloves because her hands are kinda gnarly…
So I’m going to start out with a non weaving subject… I have a raised vegetable garden..I love it! I’m a very good flower garden type gardener, but last year I got a raised vegetable garden put in, and I grew vegetables! It’s so much fun! But my tomatoes kinda went wild…I had huge plants…not too many tomatoes…I think my plants were so huge they shaded the actual tomatoes. I had planted 16 tomatoes…so this year I plated fewer tomatoes, 11 plants…but then this happened….
Yep! my garden is out of control…again. there are lots of tomato flowers, and lots of little green tomatoes, so we will see what happens.
Oh! Also, I have a marauding woodchuck that robs sections of my garden…obviously he leaves the tomatoes alone, but he decimated my snap peas, my row of cilantro…(because everyone needs a row of cilantro) ..my dill patch, all the blossoms off my cucumbers and he ate my pumpkin blossoms. I have begun to tuck little empty onion bags filled with dog hair amongst my garden… let’s see if that helps…
I also found out I have a massive..MASSIVE…poison ivy issue in my back yard. See those vines going up those tree trunks? That’s poison Ivy..and so is Half that green stuff on the ground. If you stand close to those tree trunks you can see millions of poison Ivy berries hanging like tiny grape clusters just waiting for the birds to disperse them all over my yard. I did find a company to treat it, it will be a relief if I can get it under control..
Okay, that’s enough of my gardening issues… here’s what’s been happening in my studio..
Two hats are done!…the berry and brown hat is from a kit that was supposed to be a cowl…but I knit a hat.
The green and blue one is knit from one of the many balls of Noro Silk Garden my sister in law gave me. There was probably enough to knit a shawl or sweater but. . . I knit hats. I don’t seem to have the attention span to knit a sweater. the pattern is mine.
I wove one medallion scarf…..and I’m working on the second one. Warp is Jaggerspun Zephyr 50/50 silk and merino. The main color is Chanel, with stripes of ebony, turquoise and chrome. Weft is iris, with ebony, marine and chrome accent stripes. 6 harness twill.
The second scarf of the series is woven with a weft of Zephyr Mystic Pink and the same accent colors.
I also figured out what to do with some chenille that I had woven last year…Ta dah! Cowls! I kinda love chenille…it’s so soft..and I like that these cowls have an actual pattern that you can see…a color and weave thing going on..
So this is my Tally for the week:
2 chenille cowls
A warp measured out but not wound on
Ok…I really thought I did more than that…I will do better next week!
I had grand goals for this year…I was accepted to the Forest Hills Craft Fair for November, and then I have Artmakers the first weekend of December 2022..so I figured I could weave 60 scarfs, 60 dish towels, 10 shawls and knit 40 hats. If I think about those goals I’m going to start to panic..so I’m just not going to think about them…I’m just weaving what I want to.
I took a class from Natalie Drummond in Deflected Double Weave. it was a Zoom class for me because of Covid concerns. I have tried to take Zoom classes before and totally failed..didn’t attend, forgot to attend, didn’t like the presentation, didn’t like the presenters voice…lots of (mostly) bad reasons, but this class was a delight! Natalie is a great instructor, good presentations, great individual feedback, lots of weaving time…spread over two days. just terrific! and since we had a choice of two different drafts, and I had two looms available , I was able to do both drafts! a total of 5 scarfs…and they are really neat!
I dyed the yarn myself…each required three different bouts, so I was able to set up a dyeing studio in the furnace room and dye away. It was March in Michigan so still too cold to do it in the garage or outside.
I tried to be productive…really, I tried. I had an idea for a birthday gift for a friend, so I played around with some silk..60/2..sett at 36 ends per inch. My initial idea was to also have some elasticized thread in the warp, but that was a warping nightmare…i tried winding the warp with the elasticized thread intermixed…that didn’t work. Then I tried hanging the elasticized warp threads on weights off the back of the loom…oh my gosh! that really didn’t work. so I cut all the elasticized thread off…threw it away and decided to embrace an open dent concept and used some of the elasticized thread in the weft for the cowl. Then I wove the silk scarf. I’m in love with the look of this scarf. I will say, at 40 picks per inch, It was a slow weave, but this is my favorite type of weaving, when I just keep choosing a color at random for the weft.
I wove three huck lace scarfs with a variegated warp…i used up a ton of partial bobbins winding the warp!
Diane V. showed me the kitchen towels she had just woven and shared the pattern , so I wove these bright red towels. I think they will be perfect for Christmas! Winding the warp was incredibly time consuming…I’m going to figure out how to streamline that a bit!
Albert Einstein these next towels are for You… I wove another small batch of towels..they were supposed to be waffle weave but somehow between writing the pattern and tying up my treadles I left something out and forgot to tie up one of the treddles… I may have just reinvented something…I kinda like them…. did you know that reason we have Quilted northern toilet paper and quilted paper towel is because at the start of his career in the United States, Albert Einstein was hired to do a study on absorbency and he concluded that bumpy surfaces were more absorbent than flat ones?
Oh, and I knit a few hats….
This weekend I wound a black warp for a set of MD scarfs, and wound another for a set of Medallion Scarfs…. I will have photos for them next week!
Happy April everyone and Happy 2021. This is just going to be a short post because I’m trying to get my groove back…so I will try to catch you up!
I haven’t really woven anything since two weeks before Christmas. I have a “dog on the loom!”. A beautiful dog, but a dog nevertheless.
Pretty, aren’t they? They are no fun to weave. I set them at 30 threads to the inch, thinking that would make them nice and cushy. They are extra large…supposed to be gifts for friends….for Christmas…last year. The Christmas that has come and gone. Ugh. The threads are so crammed up that sometimes they don’t lift, so I have these skipped threads…or maybe my tension is to blame…anyway, there are microscopic mistakes, my friends won’t care, but I do. And I’m tired of towels, because even when I finish weaving, I have to wash them, and iron them, and hem them, and iron them again….ugh. It’s work.
Then I got sidetracked because my daughter and son-In-law bought a fixer upper house, and they both have full time jobs, and I like to fixer up stuff….so I got busy with that and took a perfectly fine move-in ready house that could have been fixed up over the next five years and tore the place apart…ripped off all the trim inside, realized I was in too deep and really only capable of painting and had to call in a contractor to fix my mess.
But that’s pretty much taken care of, and they have moved and everyone is happy in their new abode and that nice young couple who got married in our backyard last summer and have been living with us for three years finally have been able to unpack their wedding presents…so everyday is like Christmas for them. They are happy, we are happy, and I miss them like crazy.
Our beautiful 17 year old Ragdoll kitty died this winter, Angel was a lap cat, extremely loud, cartoon Siamese loud, especially the last two years. Honestly, you could hear hear outside the house and down the block. Didn’t help that she was also deaf. Maybe a bit sight impaired. But very cuddly. And we have missed her, a lot.
So We adopted a two year old calico rescue cat. She’s tiny. Very soft voice. Spent an entire year at a shelter, so she is not used to being picked or or held. She is squirmy and has claws, and does not want to be picked up and growls whenever I try to. And somehow we love her. She comes over for pets, she doesn’t curl up on our lap, but instead she curls up by our feet on the footstool and she plays wildly with all her toys. She has a big personality and she fills up these empty rooms.
Okay, back to weaving….this January I passed along my Grandmother Friedrichs loom to my cousin’s daughter Ally. This is the Cherry Norwood loom that my grandmother would have a project on for me to weave when I would visit as a child. My Aunt Phyllis sent it to me probably 20 years ago and that’s how I started weaving. I loved knowing that that loom had been made in Michigan, traveled somehow to Oregon City Oregon, and then back to Michigan and my house. I loved that that My Grandmother had woven on that loom, and I think my Aunt Gracie had also and that now I was weaving on it. And I love that another generation of our family is going to weave new things on it too. Ally is an artist and a printmaker and I can’t wait to see what she creates!
My weaving studio looked a bit empty after Nori the Norwood left, so I pulled out my Wolf Pup and put on a scarf….so I wouldn’t have to finish those damn towels on the Maccomber… but this scarf is looking pretty pedestrian. Ugh! I have SO lost my Mojo.
The yarn is a knitting yarn…with long variations…so I have this handy bobbin holder that I made and numbered.
The ball had about 400 yards. I wind the entire skein onto my bobbins one after another and place the first bobbin on the nine holder, 8, 7, 6….1. Then I use the 1 bobbin first, then 2, then 3…..9. That keeps the colors changes in order. I have a whole bunch of these handy bobbin holders that various people have made for me.
Whenever I meet somebody who likes woodworking…usually blindsiding a friends husband, I ask if they could make me one. I have no shame. Someone should make these and market them but until then, I will continue to accost the woodworkers I bump into. Oh! And if anyone does take this idea and run with it, you probably should send me a bobbin holder as payment for the idea. See…no shame!
Anyway. I will finish this scarf, and the towels because I want to do a table runner for my dining room table. And I know exactly what I want to make and it’s so darn cool! I will make an extra to sell!
All right folks, that’s all for now, and I will try to post more often this year!
My brother and his wife Mikey live in Nome, Alaska. (Where I was born.). Mikey loves to go hiking, she’s been up Mt Denali… sheesh! Anyway, Mikey hikes…sometimes by herself, sometimes with a friend, sometimes with her daughter’s dog, but she hikes. She picks blueberries, she takes pictures, and if she is lucky, she will come across a bramble of scrub brush a Musk Ox has rubbed against to shed its winter coat.
The downy undercoat is called qiviut and it is a luxury fiber, much like cashmere, except way more cool. A Musk Ox is kinda a prehistoric Buffalo….and they are really mean, you don’t want to challenge one of those guys.
You can buy qiviut yarn, the last time I checked it retails for about $100 an ounce, lace weight, but it’s so much better when your wonderful sister in law sends you some yarn, or some fluff she has collected and you can spin it yourself! It’s really really soft and develops a nice halo after you knit with it.
So last year, during the initial COVID stay at home order, I was going thru my yarn room and put all my little balls of qiviut in one container…I have quite a lot that Mikey has sent me over the years.
So…I knit these hats….the mouse brown is the original color….I dyed some to get the espresso, burnt orange, marine blue and medium blues.
I had a lot of fun coming up with the whale pattern, I down loaded a cross-stitch whale pattern, then I used graph paper and made him shorter and taller, with a better tail and a water spout! I kinda love these hats!
I also had a little batch of yarn that was spun more firmly so I knit a baby set of booties and a hat….used some cashmere yarn for the white ties on the booties.
I still have some unwashed, unspun fluff that I’m separating. I try to separate all the sun bleached ivory fluff from the darker qiviut….because I can dye the lighter group a brighter color. With the darker Group I often do a wash of black….that will get me the espresso brown yarn, which pops when I use any other color. I also use blue dye, and I might do a purple this time and that orange is very nice too! With the ivory colored fluff I might try an Apple green, or brighter blue. I don’t dye the fluff, I spin the yarn, then I dye it
I might have mentioned before that qivuet, when you buy it, is lace weight. it’s so expensive, that you want to get as much yardage from it as you can. Except sometimes things happen….my brother, 40 years ago, sent my grandmother in Oregon, some raw fiber that she had a friend in her guild spin it for her…I still have the note with the spinners name….but it’s bulky weight….
I’ve had this bulky yarn for 20 years and have no idea what to do with it, but hopefully Mikey will take it off my hands…it could make something really really cool, but the responsibility is just too much!
I also have some qiviut fiber that I sent to a Sun Fiber Mill, a cashmere processing mill in Montana. ( that was after a different mill totally destroyed a pound of qiviut…ugh…). I figured a cashmere mill would know how to handle it. I had them blend half of it with 30% silk and 20% merino because I like to dye stuff…and it is beautiful! I’m still spinning it….as fine as I can…maybe I will finish it this January….
See the difference in color from the dark 100% qiviut they processed and the blended fiber?
Right now I’m knitting a hat out of a qiviut/merino/ nylon blend that Mikey sent me…I dyed the blue, and I also dyed some espresso…and I think I will dye one skein a bright deep red!
Sometimes when I’m sitting on my deck, sorting fibers and then toss some bad fluff over the railing I hope it makes it into a birds nest, which some local college science student finds and analyzes…and writes a paper about how Grand Rapids swallows line their nests with musk ox qiviut….